Gentlemen – it’s with a certain sense of dejavu that I address you today having addressed you at Tavistock Golf Club a year ago hoping then to stand down as your Hon. Secretary. Today is different in that here I am confidant that all is well and I will be standing down after 5 years.
‘The Association shall be called the Devon Men Veteran Golfers Association (DMVGA) and the object shall be to promote, maintain and increase the interest of Members in golf and other social activities.’
This is the very first Rule and Object of the Association and your Committees and I have tried to follow that objective faithfully. In our events we try to provide quality venues at very affordable prices and I think you will agree we achieve those objectives. Further to that though we try to make it a quality occasion by careful admin – so ensuring that everyone knows where they’re going, at what time they’re teeing off and with whom; cards are ready and hopefully it’s easy and enjoyable for everyone. Achieving all of this takes a good deal of time and effort for each and every event. It used to be relatively easy; Reps submitted the names of those wishing to participate; the start sheet was drawn up and cards were readied; people arrived checked in and might say ‘oh , my handicap has gone up or down’ –so the card was altered and off they went, played their round, handed in their card and winners were announced. How things have changed! So, now Reps still send in their list of players and a start sheet is put together which is then forwarded to Adrian Granville-Smith, our IT Officer, who then puts all the info into the computer which is primed with all players from all over the county; the computer recognises each and every player, his CDH number and date of birth – thus allowing us to easily identify those of a certain age when prizes are at stake in those age groups. Adrian, having checked all players’ handicaps as of midnight on the previous evening arrives on the day with his computer and touch screen for entry of scores for incoming players. At some point during the day there will come the clarion call from Adrian over there somewhere ‘Gentlemen, we have a problem!’ – It’ll be someone’s name has been misspelt, their name and CDH number don’t match up or the computer doesn’t recognise them at all or any number of other hypothetical problems. Adrian loves a computer problem and he’ll go, it has to be said, rather loudly about his task to rectify the issue – which he always does. At the end of the day when all scores are in and all are happy a button is pressed and the results are fired off to England Golf, Devon Golf and every club represented on that particular day.
England Golf’s preoccupation with handicaps will mean that in 2020, I think, all our competitions will become Qualifiers so the need for constant IT involvement will become paramount. At this point I must firstly pay tribute to Adrian Granville-Smith’s work on all matters IT related – he works hard to ensure all that is required is met and completed. However, as Adrian himself has pointed out on many occasions, we do need a ‘back-stop’ (sorry had to introduce Brexit somewhere!) – we do need an Assistant IT Officer to help, learn, understand and implement as necessary; Adrian has to have his holidays or may not be well, so those extra pair of hands and knowledge will be vital; if anyone here has a level of IT knowledge, or knows anyone who has and may be willing to become involved to help the Association please speak to Adrian or myself.
Talking about the need to find new Officers you will see lower down on this evening’s agenda that the Hon. Treasurer’s role does not have a name against it. David Bromage has been the Association’s Hon. Treasurer for the past 9 years; he worked with our previous Hon. Secretary Bob Keating to rationalise and implement new systems to meet the steady increase of interest and involvement of the membership. David and I have worked closely together these past 5 years and now we’re implementing new systems to meet today’s requirements – BACS payments straight to the bank- not always as easy as you might think! David has been at the very heart of the Association and has seen more change than any of us and has been hugely important in keeping us on the straight and narrow financial highway through all those years and is now stepping down from the post of Hon. Treasurer and we owe him a great debt of gratitude – David thank you. We now need someone to step up to the plate and take on the post of Hon. Treasurer so if anyone here might consider the task please come and talk to David or myself. David will continue to carry out the task until a new post holder can be confirmed but we must not take that as a sign that he will just continue ad infinitum.
Returning, if I may, to the Objectives of the Association – and here I’m going ‘off piste’ a little – there is in some areas a preoccupation with the application of the Rules of Golf and the rules of the Association. I fully accept and endorse the fact that the rules must be applied and adhered to at all times – of course. But sometimes it seems that the rules are becoming more important than the main object which is ‘to promote, maintain and increase the interest of Members in golf and other social activities.’ We are after all trying to offer older chaps opportunities to enjoy themselves in convivial surroundings playing a game they love. Please don’t let us lose sight of our main objective. Enough said!
Shortly you’ll be voting in a new Hon. Secretary – Les Hartley from Tiverton. Les, I think, will be a very good post holder; he has the ability to see straight to the heart of the matter being discussed; he asks all the right questions and I don’t think he’ll suffer fools gladly. Bob Keating was from Tiverton too and had the same qualities – I fancy it must be something in the Tiverton tea! I trust that all you Reps out there will give Les the same help and support you’ve given me over the past 5 years. I’m sure that the Association will be in good hands.
I’ve very much enjoyed my time as Hon. Secretary; I’ve enjoyed the Association’s move forward to embrace new technology, for if we hadn’t we surely would be withering away; I’ve enjoyed seeing the Association become a more authoritative voice in Devon golf; I’ve very much enjoyed the many friendships I’ve forged across the county; but above all, for myself, I’ve enjoyed being part of a team that provides opportunities for all of us to enjoy ourselves, to be happy and to have fun – and for that I thank you all. But I know that now is absolutely the right time for me, and the Association, to be standing down; I will though, as you’ll see, be willing to take on the post of Assistant Hon. Secretary to help Les ‘bed in’ and look at some of the longer term projects so you will still see me at events.
I must thank the Committees and other Officers with whom I’ve worked this past 5 years. They have all been unfailingly supportive – thank you. I must particularly thank Peter Stuckey and Harvie Taylor, our outgoing President and Captain, for their support and friendship and wish them both well.
That Gentlemen is my report to todays’ Annual General Meeting.
Bob Small – Hon. Secretary